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THEY CALL it “Dutertenomics.” Its tagline: “Build, build, build.” Its boast: “The golden age of Philippine infrastructure.” Its estimated bill: PhP8.4 trillion, to be sourced from taxes, foreign and local loans, and Official Development Assistance (ODA) from bilateral partners.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In this analytical essay, PCIJ fellow Kenneth Cardenas takes a closer look at the multibillion-dollar deals signed during President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s state visit to China in October 2016 and raises questions about transparency, due diligence, and the role of money in the current administration.

Avoidable delays in the procurement of goods and services; the election calendar revised four times; wasteful spending on machines that conked out or were not used; massive undervoting for party-list groups. The May 2019 elections: A messy affair, not fault-free at all.

Until they were charged with the murder of 58 persons on Nov. 23, 2009, the Ampatuans lived in mansions, traveled with a retinue of armed escorts in a convoy of black SUVs, flew business class, and in the first days of their detention, enjoyed catered meals.

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